Oil and gas have traditionally been the pillars of Abu Dhabi’s industrial growth. However, with growing global consciousness about sustainability, Abu Dhabi has realigned its energy strategy to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and move towards green energy. Thanks to our visionary leadership, the emirate chalked out an ambitious sustainability agenda in earnest and has been making huge strides in the direction. As a signatory to the 2016 Paris Agreement, the UAE recognises the urgency of mitigating the threat to climate and adopting environmentally friendly strategies and Abu Dhabi has been at the forefront of driving the momentum towards clean energy by way of a number of initiatives and measures.
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) is one such initiative which underlines the emirate’s commitment to clean energy and sustainability. Since its first edition in 2008, ADSW has grown from strength to strength and has placed Abu Dhabi on the global map of sustainability. Energy being central to sustainability, Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) has been leading the transition. At the heart of our policies is energy transformation and a shift towards clean energy with the larger objective of diversifying Abu Dhabi’s economy. DoE is leading the way for Abu Dhabi’s sustainable future by driving the change.
Sustainability is not a standalone concept. It encompasses many different aspects including social, economic and environmental. ADSW is taking a holistic approach to sustainability to align more closely with the UAE Vision 2021 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Artificial Intelligence, Youth and Community are headlining this year’s ADSW agenda and quite rightly so. At DoE we believe in empowering key stakeholders in sustainability and firmly stand by the ADSW pillars. Community matters to sustainability and we believe that youth and women can lead the change. We want to equip them with relevant information and education to contribute positively to build a safe and secure future. Our participation in ADSW’s Youth 4 Sustainability, WiSER Forum and The Festival at Masdar City go further to prove our commitment towards youth, women and the community at large. DoE’s Youth Council will be present throughout the sustainability week and lead important events and forums to engage the community.
As we continue to diversify the energy mix by incorporating clean and renewable sources, we are also promoting energy efficiency and rationalisation of consumption. DoE introduced Abu Dhabi Demand Side Management and Energy Rationalisation Strategy 2030, which features nine core programmes with a high potential to reduce water consumption by 32% and energy consumption by 22% by 2030, as compared to 2013 consumption rates. These strategies are driving the emirate’s energy transition efforts with a clear focus on promoting economic growth and social development, secure and affordable supply and environmental sustainability. Our belief in these principles aligns us with the ethos of ADSW and makes our presence at the event very relevant and timely.
The threat to climate is a reality and there is growing global movement around it. The recent climate strikes by young children to pressurise world leaders into addressing climate change on an urgent basis have dominated the headlines the world over. Governments are working to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and slow down global warming and there is growing awareness about reducing waste and plastic use. These developments will impact industries which will have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant in the coming years.
Technology will steer the world towards green economies as electric vehicles, storage technologies, AI, digitalization, blockchain, machine learning and so on, gain more traction. Electric vehicles, for example, hold immense potential in reducing emissions and so does AI which can bring about efficiencies of epic proportions. Technology is redefining the landscape of mobility through alternative fuels to autonomous vehicles.
At DoE we believe in technology as a great tool to further the cause of sustainability and solve the energy trilemma to establish social, economic and environmental stability. Sustainability and technology have become mutually exclusive today, as we see technology becoming more prevalent in the coming decades. DoE has made technology especially AI a high priority area for research and development to find solutions which will drive the future of energy.
Today data is the most precious commodity because it opens the door to unlimited opportunity. We can harness data to gain information about climate and environment and perhaps act in time to mitigate disasters. Digital technology unleashes immense power to end many world problems, world powers need to join hands and work as a community to harness its full potential. ADSW provides a platform for debate and discussions to move this agenda forward. The pillars of ADSW comprise Energy and Climate Change, Water and Food, Future of Mobility, Space, Biotechnology in Health, Tech for Good.
We are building our strategies on these pillars and are aligned with these to make sustainability a reality.
We are committed to making the 2020 edition of ADSW yet another success and we look forward to meeting industry stakeholders and interacting with our young leaders and community members to involve them in our journey towards a new energy era that enables sustainable growth and a cleaner, healthier living environment